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Prospect Rankings No. 3: Michael Taylor

Posted by Ben Seal, Wed, September 30, 2009 12:00 PM | Comments: 19
Posts, Top 25 Prospects from 2009

Michael Taylor, OFtaylor2

Born: 12/19/1985 in Cheverly, Maryland

Height: 6’6”

Weight: 250

He was not supposed to be this good. For three years Michael Taylor struggled in college, never managing to achieve the expectations at Stanford that his large bag of tools made for him. Phillies scouts watched him at Apopka High School in 2002 when they were scouting Zack Greinke, and had liked him then, so they chose him in the fifth round of the 2007 Draft when he left Stanford and hoped to cash in on the potential they saw five years earlier. It’s safe to say at this point that both the Phillies and Taylor himself will be cashing in on that potential in the near future, as Taylor has ascended the ranks to become one of the Top 25 prospects in the game according to outlets like Baseball America and MLB.com.

Taylor, a right-handed hitter with a massive frame many have likened to Darryl Strawberry, had trouble in his first season of pro ball at short-season Williamsport. Using the classic “Stanford swing” that all Cardinal products implement, Taylor couldn’t do much of anything, hitting to a .227 batting average in 233 at-bats. Despite the low average he did show some pop, only natural for a player his size. But in 2008, a breakout season by any definition, Taylor abandoned the contact-heavy Stanford swing and began to use a more natural stroke that worked wonders for his performance at the plate. By allowing his great size and strength to do most of the work, Taylor turned into a high-average hitter with above-average power – and even more unharnessed pop that is ready to be unlocked.

The change in his swing allowed Taylor to hit .361 with 25 extra-base hits in half a season at Lakewood before moving on to Clearwater, where he finished with 37 extra-base hits and a .329 average in just 243 at-bats. It was a statement season for Taylor, who instantly rocketed up prospect lists and became a Phillie to watch heading into the 2009 campaign. He didn’t disappoint, hitting .333 with 15 homers in his first taste of double-A ball before making another jump to triple-A Lehigh Valley. Just one level away from the Majors, Taylor started out slow but gained steam in August and finished hitting .282 in limited time, including a 5-for-5 night when he hit for the cycle. A strained oblique ended his season early in mid-August, cutting short a hot streak. In the end he had followed up 2008’s breakout by hitting .320 with 53 extra-base hits across two levels this season. Not bad for a kid who looked lost just two years ago.

The ceiling is very high for Taylor, who will start 2010 at Lehigh Valley and is likely to earn a promotion to the Phillies at some point in the summer. He has a good arm, though nothing spectacular, and managed to steal 21 bags this year despite not having great speed. At the plate he has the type of physique that allows him to drive the ball every time he makes contact, which is often. He may have given up the Stanford swing, but still maintains an impressive average and good walk-to-strikeout ratios across the board. He has played both left and right field well in his career and could slot in at either corner once the Phillies are in need. Though Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez won’t be vacating their positions next season, Taylor is just a hot start and an early injury away from his first call-up. And when that happens, the outfielder with Ryan Howard’s broad stature and an equally impressive track record will be ready to make an impact.

Statistics

Year   Level   AB   H   2B   3B   HR   RBI   BB   K   SB   AVG   OBP   SLG

2007   A-     233   53  14    0    6    33   23   53   8   .227   .300   .365

2008   A      249  90   12    3   10   50   31   43   10  .361   .441   .554

2008   A+     243  80   27    1    9    38   19   46   5   .329   .380   .560

2009   AA    318  106   22   4    15   65   35   51  18   .333   .408   .569

2009   AAA   110   31   6    1    5    19   13   19   3    .282   .359   .491

RankingsAll previous prospect profiles can be found here, which is also on the left sidebar for easy viewing

3.   Michael Taylor, OF
4.   Travis d’Arnaud, C
5.   Zach Collier, OF
6.   Trevor May, RHP
7.   Joe Savery, LHP
8.   Vance Worley, RHP
9.   Sebastian Valle, C
10.  Mike Stutes, RHP
11.  Antonio Bastardo, LHP
12.  Anthony Gose, OF
13.  Colby Shreve, RHP
14.  Anthony Hewitt, 3B
15.  Justin De Fratus, RHP
16.  Sergio Escalona, LHP
17.  Yohan Flande, LHP
18.  Julian Sampson, RHP
19.  John Mayberry, Jr., OF
20.  Mike Cisco, RHP
21.  Freddy Galvis, SS
22.  Jonathan Pettibone, RHP
23.  Domingo Santana, OF
24.  Jonathan Singleton, 1B
25.  Drew Naylor, RHP

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About Ben Seal

Ben Seal has written 48 articles on Phillies Nation.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Joe

    To my knowledge, Dom Brown is the one who gets Ddaryl Strawberry comps. Taylor normally gets Dave Winfield. I’ll take either on though, haha.

     
  • Posts: 0 joedad

    I saw Taylor play a game at Trenton and was impressed. He crushed the ball each time at the plate and hit a home run over the high left field wall that could not have taken more than 2 seconds to leave the yard. He beat out a ball that he hit off the pitcher’s glove and showed some speed, sort of like Ryan Howard after he gets his momentum going, but faster than Howard.

    He is built more like a linebacker than Strawberry, who was tall and lean.

     
  • Posts: 0 Duffie_D

    I am ridiculously excited to see this guy on the Phillies sometime soon. I read and trust Bill Conlin a lot, and Conlin thinks he’s better now and will remain better than Dom Brown.

    For a farm system that doesn’t, to my knowledge, get a lot of credit nationally the Phillies sure seem to pump out a lot of good talent from their minor league clubs. There’s the obvious All-Star/MVP/RoY caliber talent on the big league club now (Utley, Howard, Rollins, Hamels, Happ), plus a bunch of guys like Brown, Taylor and Drabek that will be on the club at some point in the next two years.

    I see Michael Taylor or Dom Brown taking Jayson Werth’s spot permanently in 2010, after Werth’s contract is up. Werth is gonna make a lot of money then, especially with the power numbers he’s putting up now. The Phils really can’t afford to pay ALL these guys.

     
  • Posts: 1435 Pat Gallen

    Avatar of Pat Gallen

    I have to say, I’m really excited to see what he can do next year. I know he’s close, but has nowhere to go as of now. But your right, he could take over for Werth who is going to make a ton, and then Victorino could be gone as well for Brown.

    Anyone who is 6’6, quick, with major power, I am a fan of.

     
  • Posts: 0 Duffie_D

    I love his size and power too. I’d personally like to see Victorino stay because I like the tools/intangibles he brings to the team. Our recent teams have typically been very power heavy, and I like Victorino’s speed and ability to hit for a relatively high average (not to mention his defense and hustle).

    The way I’d prefer to see it go is to see Brown step in for Ibanez after that deal expires, which I think may be likely since Brown is a developmental level lower than Taylor at this point. It may take him an extra year to get up to the big club, at which point Ibanez would be gone. Imagine the speed in that outfield.

     
  • Posts: 0 ryan

    I remember first hearing about this guy earlier this season when Bill Conlin (probably the local writer I have the most respect for, particularly when it comes to baseball) wrote about this guy and compared him to Dave Winfield and called him a completely sound 5 tool player and future superstar of the national league.

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Duffie_D Says:
    September 30th, 2009 at 3:25 pm
    “I love his size and power too.”

    ….

    That’s what she said!

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Can Brown or Taylor play CF ??

    I think they would be better off trying to trade Ibanez at the deadline next year, to an AL team looking to improve their DH ..

    Werth makes $7 M next season.. which is a lot .. but probably still underpaid for what he’s given us this season.. I would really like to see him stay, even more than Victorino, who hasn’t done anything “exciting” in a few weeks

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Any of our outfielders could be traded or not signed (like Shane, who’s the only one on a 1-yr deal) to make room for Taylor. With the numbers that Werth has been putting up all season, I’d be hesitant to let him go… they would probably be better off trying to trade Rauuul. At the same time, Shane could be the one that goes if his demands are too high…

     
  • Posts: 0 Duffie_D

    lol’s at Don M, I set myself up for that one

    I would rather keep Victorino than Werth or Ibanez on a long-term basis just because of the balance he brings. I know Don’s speaking tongue-in-cheek when he says Vic hasn’t done anything exciting in a few weeks. Victorino will be more affordable, switch hits, steals bases, plays great defense, can hit around .300, will score around 100 runs…. I mean, he’s just everything you look for in a top-of-the order hitter. I’m not saying I don’t appreciate what Werth or Ibanez have done so far, but Ibanez will be old(er) when his contract runs out and Werth is gonna make a shit-ton of money on the open market if he hits 35 HR and knocks in around 100 runs again next year.

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Victorino has scored only FOUR more runs than Werth, despite having 56 more At-Bats..

    Victorino:
    .292 avg., .359 On-Base%, 99 Runs scored, 60 RBI, 10 HR, 24 Steals – 8 Caught Stealing (+16 Steals) ..mostly batting #2

    Werth:
    .269 avg., .375 On-Base%, 95 Runs score, 96 RBI, 35 HR, 15 Steals – 3 Caught Stealing (= +12 Stolen Bases).. mostly batting #5

    Victorino is probably going to win his 2nd Gold Glove.. but Werth is an above-average OF too .. with 11 OF assists, including 4 Double-Plays..

    I’ll take Werth as the most-improved player this year.. and quietly give him MVP votes behind Howard

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    I agree… and Werth can bat 2nd too.. don’t forget about that…

    Don: just to make your point even stronger, I think Werth was at least 50% of the times our No.6 hitter…. very, very impressive numbers.

     
  • Posts: 0 Duffie_D

    Please don’t get me wrong, I love Werth too. I especially like his ability to get into a nice long 11-pitch at-bat and tire out the opposing pitcher. He’s definitely vastly improved this year and worth the money he’s going to get. However, Victorino’s 2 years younger and he’s not going to make nearly as much as Werth is because, let’s face it, we all know that people who hit home runs and ace pitchers make the most money in this league. I hope that Taylor can eventually replace what Werth gives you right now, and it’ll happen at a much lower price. If you wanna keep Ryan Howard after 2011, you’re probably gonna have to give up Jayson Werth. As much as I would like it, we can’t have everything.

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    I think Vic will ask for MORE than 7M next year… which would make him more expensive than Werth? So who do would you keep? As of today, Sept. 30/09, I’d keep Werth over Vic…

    Anyway, this is a GREAT problem to have. And of course, we are assuming Taylor will succeed at the MLB level.

     
  • Posts: 0 Duffie_D

    Definitely a good problem to have, and definitely an assumption about Taylor (any projection of minor league players is an assumption). Victorino might ask for and get $7 million next year, but that’s gonna be the ceiling for what he gets on a long-term basis. With Werth’s numbers he’s looking at a $15 million per year, three-year deal after 2010, even bigger if some team like the Yankees needs a corner outfielder (assuming the market rights itself, which I think is a reasonable assumption). Victorino will never ever make that kind of money. This isn’t a matter of I don’t want to keep Werth, because I would like to. I just think we’re eventually going to have to face a decision of keeping either Werth or Howard, and that really is no decision to me. One could be a Hall-of-Famer one day, the other one won’t, and it doesn’t take a MacArthur Fellow to know which is which.

     
  • Posts: 0 Sharon

    Just trying to see if there is a e-mail address to contact Michael Taylor. I was on a flight with him going to Florida for his rehab and our plane was hit by lightening. We had a wonderful conversation. I live up here in the Phila. area and I know he is going to be the GREAT ONE! Maybe he has a fan club address – just something to contact him.

     
  • Posts: 0 Horace

    Sharon,

    Taylor writes a blog for Phillybaseballnews and can be reached at:

    MTaylor@PhillyBaseballNews.com

    It is intended to allow for questions he might answer in the future.

    Never conversed with him, but have seen him play a few times and he is phenominal. Willing pay to see him play on any day.

     
  • Posts: 0 psujoe

    Isn’t Victorino still in his arbitration years?

     
  • Posts: 0 Justin

    Taylor is a lot like Werth in the mode of a power hitter with good speed, both can swipe bags and hit for power, and both are above average OFs. Which is why you would trade Werth or Ibanez to make room for Taylor trading Victorino and moving Werth to CF wouldn’t be the best move because as quick as Werth is I think he’s better slotted for the corner outfield positions. If the team was to trade anyone it would be Werth because his value is never going to be higher than it is and if you buy into the sell while it’s hot idea then he would be the one to go because I don’t think many teams would take on Ibanez’s contract for his age no matter if he did put up career numbers. But that’s just my theory, besides I think the Phillies like Victorino a little more because he’s a guy they got out of a Rule 5 draft and has been with the team longer, they seem to reward those guys more, and to answer psujoe’s question Yes he’s still in arbitration. The thing is though after 2010 both Victorino and Werth will be up as free agents with Ibanez a free agent after 2011. So figure on 1 of those 2 being re-signed and by 2012 an OF of Dom Brown/Taylor/Werth or Victorino.

    I think Werth/Ibanez may be dealt by Winter Meetings should someone offer something worthwhile.

     
 
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